Dating at an early age
Marcion met him by chance and said "Do you know us" he replied, "I know the firstborn of the devil." Afterwards during the reign of Marcus Antoninus and Lucius Aurelius Commodus in the fourth persecution after Nero, in the presence of the proconsul holding court at Smyrna and all the people crying out against him in the Amphitheater, he was burned.He wrote a very valuable Epistle to the Philippians which is read to the present day in the meetings in Asia.And this variety among the observers [of the fasts] had not its origin in our time, but long before in that of our predecessors, some of whom probably, being not very accurate in their observance of it, handed down to posterity the custom as it had, through simplicity or private fancy, been [introduced among them].And yet nevertheless all these lived in peace one with another, and we also keep peace together.And in this state of affairs they held fellowship with each other; and Anicetus conceded to Polycarp in the Church the celebration of the Eucharist, by way of showing him respect; so that they parted in peace one from the other, maintaining peace with the whole Church, both those who did observe [this custom] and those who did not.Polycarp disciple of the apostle John and by him ordained bishop of Smyrna was chief of all Asia, where he saw and had as teachers some of the apostles and of those who had seen the Lord.The second section can either be construed as prophecy, or history containing some prophecy, depending on the date one assumes that the book was written.
It relates the fact that God is in control, and how He protects His faithful servants.
Chapter eleven is the focus of most of the controversy, as, according to most scholars, it gives a very detailed account of the battles of Antiochus Epiphanes.